EE Times:
Characterization supports 45 nm memories

Noting the challenges of memory characterization at 45 nm and below, Legend Design Technology has upgraded its CharFlo-Memory tool suite for that process node. The new release claims to address power gating, data retention, pin power, multiple voltage supplies, layout extraction and circuit simulation.

Legend Design Technology is a provider of circuit simulation and semiconductor intellectual property (IP) characterization software for system on chip designs. Its CharFlo-Memory suite includes MSL, a tool for automatic memory characterization; SpiceCut, a tool for building critical path layouts; and MemChar, which provides optimization and reliability checking.

According to You-Pang Wei, Legend president and CEO, memory IP characterization at 45 nm and below raises several challenges. These include low-power designs with power gating and data retention, sophisticated models, large layout-extracted circuits with resistors and capacitors, and long simulation times due to complex Spice models. "With extensive R&D efforts and field experiences, we have successfully developed the solutions for these challenges," he said.

To support power gating characterization, SpiceCut can produce small critical path circuits with multipliers on repeated cells. By automatically producing small, accurate critical path circuits, SpiceCut claims to provide data retention analysis as well. SpiceCut also claims to produce critical path circuits for pin power characterization.

The new release of CharFlo-Memory can produce either Effective Current Source Modeling (ECSM) or Composite Current Source (CCS) models. CharFlo-Memory also enables layout parasitic extraction in critical path circuits only, allowing parasitic extraction in a shorter period of time.

At 45 nm and below, device models become more complex. To ease simulation efficiency, SpiceCut can automatically produce small critical path circuits for characterizing access time, setup and hold time, minimum clock cycle time, input pin capacitance, output pin loading, and dynamic power.

CharFlo-Memory with 45 nm capabilities will be available in the third quarter starting at $250,000.